Friday, November 19, 2010

An Unappreciated Sector

One week from today is black Friday.  The day when anxious shoppers get up at wee hours, wait in line until retail stores open, and then push themselves through the doors, fighting their way to the big sales that the store owners cast out as bait to lure Christmas shoppers in their stores. Once again, we Americans are paying more attention to the day after than the day of Thanksgiving.    

Ralph and Ed
When it comes to saying thanks, I think a lot of the the time we forget about one pretty important sector of our society.....those dedicated men and women who dispose of our garbage and monitor and update our waste management systems.  I remember watching Ed Norton on The Honeymooners back in the 50's.  Ed Norton worked for the Sewer Department, and his big buddy Ralph Cramden drove a city bus.  Both these guys took pride in their jobs, as well they should have.

At least two times every year the drainage pipes in our basement get blocked by tree roots. Let me tell you, this ain't no happy time and the first thing we do is call the guys who have the proper equipment to snake out the line that runs from our house to the main pipe in the street. Isn't it ironic how we don't give much thought to these workers when things are working right. But, just let our pipes block up, and then holy hell breaks loose and we expect them to put us first on their customer list.

In our town, one day a week we set our garbage cans out on the boulevard, and without fail in the early morning hours we hear the big garbage truck drive up and stop.  One man hangs on the side of the truck between stops, jumps off, empties the can into the back-end, then he jumps back up on the side board, and off they go to the next house.  This is one service that I don't take for granted.  Mainly because  I remember when we were first married in the late 1960s, we had to load up our weekly garbage and haul it out to the local dump and unload it ourselves.    
This Thanksgiving, lets all take a minute to prayerfully thank these environmentalists who are quietly tending to some pretty distasteful tasks in order to maintain and improve our quality of life. Can you just imagine what life would be like without them? 

This Christmas I'm going to make it a point to give these guys a tray of homemade cookies or a box of store-bought candy.  I'll just bet they don't often get remembered for the mighty essential work that they do for us every day of the year.